Does The Royal Family Have The Right To Sue Netflix Over The Crown?

Netflix may want to keep having a little look over its shoulder on this one. Drama series "The Crown" has been one of the streamer's biggest hits over the years, documenting the many ups and downs of life as a royal ever since it first debuted in 2016.

Pretty much no topic has been shied away from — rightly or wrongly — by the popular series, so it's not too surprising then to hear that the royal family may not be such big fans of having their dirty laundry aired out in such a public way. There have been multiple reports over the years about how the royal family, including Queen Elizabeth II, really feel about "The Crown," while the royals' team have also spoken out about the show before.

Back in September 2019, the queen's communications secretary, Donal McCabe, hinted the royals aren't the biggest fans of the show, telling The Guardian that the idea the series "is made with some sort of endorsement by the royal household, or an acceptance by the royal household that the drama is factually accurate" is not true. He added, "The royal household has never agreed to vet or approve content, has not asked to know what topics will be included, and would never express a view as to the programme's accuracy."

But while several reports have suggested the royals aren't happy about specific storylines, it's natural to wonder if they've ever considered legal action of the dramatized telling of their story.

The Queen's lawyers have 'kept an eye' on The Crown

According to reports, while the royal family are not believed to have sought serious legal advice regarding Netflix's "The Crown," a few of their friends supposedly have. The Sun claimed in November that the law firms Queen Elizabeth likes to use have given out advice to her friends, which allegedly "would also apply" to the royals. They added, "Although this is not direct legal advice given to the queen and her family — they have been made aware of this advice," while another source alleged "the queen's lawyers have been keeping a close eye on everything."

Helena Shipman of Carter-Ruck also shared her take on whether the royals have grounds to sue the streamer, claiming they could if they wanted to, likely on libel grounds. "One battleground is the main message of the programme," she said, pointing out that Netflix could claim some controversial storylines are "simply their own honest account." She also claimed what could affect any legal cases is "whether viewers believe what they're watching is true or not."

The alleged legal advice comes as after it was reported that Season 5 of "The Crown" may be one of the most contentious yet. A The Sun source claimed in August that new episodes will feature the "highly personal relationship" between Queen Elizabeth's late husband Prince Phillip and Penny Brabourne, which "is unlikely to be welcomed as a storyline."